Have you been struggling with the idea of becoming a vegetarian but you are not sure what to do because your family and friends bombard you with so much conflicting information.
Well here is the help you need as this list of Pros and Cons of Being Vegetarian will certainly assist you in your decision-making.
Who is a Vegetarian?
I think you know the answer to that question. But just in case there is one person who is not sure, let me tell you.
A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat. In other words, they do not eat animal flesh which includes chicken and fish.
There are different types of vegetarians.
Vegans are the strictest of vegetarians and use no animal products whatsoever.
Ovo-vegetarians use eggs in their diet.
Lacto-vegetarians use dairy products.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians use both eggs and dairy in their diet.
Vegetarianism has become very popular nowadays and is promoted by health gurus and medical practitioners alike.
Do you know why?
This is because science has found that there is a direct link between a plant-based diet and the treatment and cure of many diseases.
Maybe you have heard about this and thought of adopting a vegetarian lifestyle but you are not quite sure if this is what you should do.
That’s alright. Whatever you plan to do in life, it is always good to check it out to know what you are getting yourself into.
Let me list the Pros and Cons of being a vegetarian so that when you make your decision, it will be an informed one.
Health Benefits: A vegetarian diet is has been shown to lower the risk, reverse or treat certain diseases. Some of these diseases are:
- Cancer: The diet is low is in saturated fat, high in fiber, antioxidants and cancer-protective phytochemicals all of which helps to prevent cancer. Studies have shown that vegetarians are about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat eaters.
- Cardiovascular Disease: The saturated fat which is abundant in animal products and is the only source of cholesterol in the diet puts one at a great risk for heart disease. However, the low fat and high fiber of the vegetarian diet helps reduce the cholesterol levels and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Type 2 Diabetes: This disease can be controlled or even reversed by adopting a vegetarian lifestyle. Once again, the diet low in fat, high in fiber and complex carbohydrates plays a major role in the treatment of this disease.
- Hypertension: A vegetarian diet can lower blood pressure in less than two weeks.
These are just a few. There are many other health benefits that can be derived from a vegetarian diet.
Helps in Weight Loss: Who doesn’t want to lose weight? Almost everyone has a favourite dress or two…….or ten, in the closet that used to fit perfectly. Can you identify with that scenario? And you keep adding to the lot waiting for the day when you will be able to fit back into them. Well, good news. A plant-based diet is an effective diet recommended for persons who want to lose weight due to the fewer calories consumed in the form of grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
Quick Meal Prep: No fighting to remove the solidly frozen hunk of meat from the freezer and then waiting hours for it to thaw before you can start your food prep. Even if you happen to freeze some of your precooked beans, when you take it out of the freezer, it is ready for the pot.
Less Bacterial Contamination: The chances of bacterial contamination are greatly reduced when you don’t have to deal with all that raw meat on your kitchen counter.
No Guilt: Have you ever watched an animal being slaughtered? It’s not a pretty sight. The chicken on the plate was once a cute bird running around before…… Ugh! Okay. I think I am getting too graphic here. The good news though is that on a vegetarian diet you don’t have to suffer any guilt that an animal was slaughtered to provide your food.
Great Variety of Meals: Contrary to popular beliefs, vegetarians have a greater variety of meals compared to meat eaters. There are scores of peas, beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits that are used in numerous dishes for all occasions.
Easy Storage of Ingredients: Most of the ingredients used in vegetarian meals (in particular the peas, beans, nuts and seeds) have an extremely long shelf life and do not require refrigeration or freezing.
Inexpensive: I bet you never thought you would see this as a “Pro” but the old favourites peas, beans, nuts and seeds are pretty inexpensive and a pack of beans for example, can be used for several different menus.
Although there are so many advantages in being a vegetarian, there are some disadvantages as well.
- Eating out can prove challenging. While there are many restaurants and fast food joints where you can easily get meat, chicken and fish, getting a good vegetarian meal can be difficult. Fortunately, this is becoming less of a problem as the vegetarian lifestyle has become more popular.
- You will have to spend more time in the kitchen. Following on the fact that it is challenging to find vegetarian restaurants thus making eating out difficult, you will need to spend time in the kitchen preparing your healthy meals.
- Some meat analogues are not very healthy. Some vegetarian will use a lot of imitation meats many of which are highly processed and loaded with sodium. It is important to choose healthy meat analogues.
- You have to take time to read labels. When you are grocery shopping, you have to read labels to ensure that you are not buying items with animal products. This is especially true with sauces and some tin products.
- You have to cook separate for family. If you are the only vegetarian in a meat eating family, you will find yourself many times having to cook two different meals to satisfy everyone.
- Poor nutrition. Let me quickly say that the vegetarian diet does not result in poor nutrition. If however you decide to stop eating meat but you haven’t substituted the necessary foods to provide the protein, iron etc. you will become malnourished. We cannot live on vegetables alone.
What Prevents Many From Making The Choice
There are many persons who are convinced of the benefits of being a vegetarian but there are certain things that they can’t overcome. They think adopting that lifestyle is too challenging.
Maybe you have had similar thoughts and drawbacks about making the decision as well but hopefully the list of Pros and Cons above will help.
You might have shared some of the following thoughts and ideas about the vegetarian lifestyle?
Let’s quickly clear them up
- I won’t be able to acquire the taste. Vegetarian food is so bland and tasteless.
- Not at all. Vegetarian food can be flavourful and very tasty. Even meat eaters can enjoy it.
- If I eat vegetarian food I will get hungry quickly.
- Not if you eat a balanced meal ensuring that you have adequate amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fats.
- It is too expensive.
- The meat analogues might be expensive but the peas and beans which are much healthier are quite inexpensive.
- Takes too long to prepare the meal.
- Many vegetarian meals take just a few minutes to prepare.
- Vegetarian food is not very accessible.
- That is true but it is getting better with the popularity of vegetarianism.
- I don’t know how to cook vegetarian meals.
- It’s very easy to learn and there are numerous recipes and YouTube videos on line to teach you.
- Other family members are not interested and I have no support.
- That can be a challenge. Maybe the post “How to be a Vegetarian in a Meat Eating Family” might help.
- I don’t know how to go about it. I have tried in the past but always go back to eating meat.
- Don’t give up. Keep trying and you will reach your goal. Check out this post “Vegetarian Lifestyle For Beginners“.
- Vegetarian diet is boring.
- Definitely not. There is much more variety in a vegetarian’s diet than a meat eater’s diet. See “What do Vegetarians Eat”
Isn’t it good to know that a lot of your fears are unfounded.
You will be surprised to hear yourself saying “Wow, I never knew vegetarian food could taste so good”
Now that you know the pros and cons of being vegetarian you are in a much better position to make your choice.
What will it be?
Did this article help you?
Let me know in the comments section below.